mercredi 16 novembre 2011

Eritrea: Religious persecution in full swing in Asmara.


On April 29, 2004, Pastor Zecharias Abraham, pastor of the Eritrean Evangelical Alliance was arrested leaving the cult. He was arrested with 79 other members of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Asmara Mehret Yesus. Among them, there were Christians of Indian origin and an American couple.
         He was released 48 hours later, but the others remained in prison sometimes for 4 years since 2001. Only four main religions were recognized as official faiths: Orthodox Church of Eritrea, the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eritrea and Islam.
         Since 2002, anyone caught trying to practice their faith outside of the premises authorized by the government arrested, tortured and is under pressure in order to make him deny his faith.
         During the nine months following the ban, at least three Christians have died of mistreatment while in detention.
"You will receive no visitors and you will rot here until you sign this paper"
would have said Eritrean military commander to Helen Berhane, a famous gospel singer from the Rema Church, held in solitary confinement in the military camp in May Serwa since May 13, 2004.
         She is currently detained in a metal shipping container.
Helen Berhane is just one of numerous prisoners in Eritrea because they do not belong to an officially recognized faith.

Priests, Pastors and Imams, even cell!

         Over the last three years, at least 26 priests and pastors, some 1750 members of evangelical churches, as well as dozens of Muslims were detained by the government. Many of these people were tortured, and places of worship were closed.
         Amnesty International is launching this Wednesday, December 7, 2003 a report detailing 44 incidents of religious persecution since 2003.
         The report, Eritrea: Religious Persecution, shows the increasing violations of the right to freedom of religion, belief and conscience in Eritrea. Some people outside the officially recognized religions were sentenced to prison by a secret security committee without legal representation or appeal rights.
         "All those detained for their religious beliefs should be released immediately.The situation is critical, and we are extremely concerned for the safety and well-being of hundreds of people facing this reality in Eritrea,"
said Kolawole Olaniyan, Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.
         A torture technique known as "helicopter" is regularly used to punish those not belonging to an officially recognized faith. It involves tying together the feet and hands of a person in his back.          Prisoners can be left on and on. Many of them are in very poor health and denied proper medical treatment.
         According to information gathered by Amnesty International, the government has increased the violent repression of religious minorities in 2005.
         The crackdown, which began without explanation in 2003, part of the general disregard for human rights shows that the government of President Issayas Afeworki (1946), in power since May 24, 1993, when the country's independence from the Ethiopia.

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